Niall Horan was the musical guest on the December 14 episode of Saturday Night Live, marking the former One Direction member’s first appearance on the show as a solo star. He also put his acting skills to the test by appearing alongside the show’s host, Tony Award-winning actress Scarlett Johansson, in a musical sketch that required him to speak in a wacky accent and haunt a hot tub during the holidays.
The sketch began with SNL cast members Chris Redd and Ego Nwodim actually climbing inside a hot tub together. They were playing a couple staying at a Radisson Select Hotel who had decided to sneak into the pool area after hours. However, instead of getting to enjoy a relaxing soak, their late-night excursion resulted in the couple getting haunted by the ghosts of two strippers.
The strippers were played by Scarlett and SNL cast member Cecily Strong. The women both adopted strong Southern accents, and they cheerfully greeted the hot tub couple. Unlike Chris and Ego, Scarlett and Cecily weren’t actually sitting in the water. Instead, special effects were used to make the swimsuit-clad women look like transparent ghosts who suddenly appeared in the tub.
The couple initially thought that the strippers were there to teach them “some kind of Christmas lesson,” like the spirits in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol — or the muppets in The Muppet Christmas Carol. However, this wasn’t the case.
“No, we’re just two dead strippers that get to haunt this hot tub every Christmas,” Cecily said.
She and Scarlett then told their tragic holiday tale by singing it.
The women revealed that they worked at Big Jim’s Jug, Rug, and Tug in 1973. They spent their Christmas at the strip club trimming a tree with pasties and doing drugs. They eventually decided to sneak into the hot tub that would become their final resting place, and their employer, Big Jim, chose to join them.
This is where Niall came in as Big Jim. He also appeared out of nowhere, and, unlike the two strippers, he was fully clothed in ’70s attire that included a leather jacket and a retro shirt with an open, exaggerated collar. He was also sporting a dark feathered wig and thick sideburns. Niall pretended to smoke a cigarette as he adopted a deep Southern drawl to sing about Big Jim’s role in the strippers’ demise.
You can check out the video below to hear about the game that killed the trio of hot tub ghosts.
The songs Niall chose for his two musical performances were “Nice to Meet Ya” and “Put a Little Love on Me.” He was the second former One Direction star to appear on SNL this season. His former bandmate, Harry Styles, was a host and performer on the show last month, and he gave Niall a little shout-out during his opening monologue.